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Where does my DS stand?

(92 Posts)
elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 17:25:45

Can someone advise me please?
i will try to be clear but apologies if not.
DS dad (my exp) died at the end of January.
He owned his flat and told me a couple of years ago that should anything happen to him he had made a will and got the correct life insurances etc so that DS would be provided for if anything happened to him.
Got a phonecall a couple of days ago from ExPs family saying that paternal Grandad would like to contribute to DS "upkeep" (for want of a better word). I think this is a lovely thought but no mention has been made of what provisions have been made for my DS. Don't kow for sure what the will says.
I have to phone them back but really don't know what to say.
I'm thinking of something along the lines "such a kind offer but as ExP assured me that DS was provided for then it really is unneccessary." But that sounds so cold?
Relations haven't been great between them and us for a year now because of DS dads begaviour but I don't want to make things worse.
On the other hand I would like to make sure my DS recieves what he is entitled to.
Again I think it is a very generous offer by DS grandparents but it seems wrong if DS is supposedly provided for.
Am I making any sense? Such a hard issue. Don't want to be cold or callous to anyone just tired of not being given the correct information (the family have form on this- didn't notify us for over a week that he had died).
I guess my question is what do I do if there is a will and what do I do if there isn't?

Resolution Sun 06-Mar-11 17:45:18

Perhaps his parents are executors of his will. Speak to them to see if they know anything about it, then post their response here.

elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 17:54:17

Thankyou Resolution. Will do. I know what ExP parents are like so was hoping to get some info before I speak to them. But I know I will have to just phone them.
Can I ask another thing tho please? We have been given very little info on how/where/in what circumstances he died. Whilst DS is not asking the questions now, I am sure in the future he will need the details. If he does, what rights do we have to that information? (ExP family are not forthcoming with any information).
Its all such a mess. Just want to know I am doing right by my DS. Unfortunately I'm not sure what that is. We don't even know where his ashes are.
Thankyou for your response.

melvinscomment Sun 06-Mar-11 18:04:15

@ elizadoestoomuch :- I'm not a solicitor, but I think you should contact your exp's family and say he said he had a will, do they know where it is? If not and if they or you know any firms of solicitors he had dealings with, those firms could be contacted to see if they have a copy of the will. If no will can be found and your exp effectively died intestate, I think his estate would probably be equally shared among his children, assuming he wasn't married to anyone when he died.

melvinscomment Sun 06-Mar-11 18:10:51

PS ... I hadn't seen Resolution's and your comments before posting mine ...

elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 18:17:43

ExP wasn't married and my DS is his only child.
I will call them tonight. I am worried that they will fob me off and be very vague. This is what they have always been like. They don't seem to see DS as a real part of their family hence why DS was a bit part at the funeral. sad

melvinscomment Sun 06-Mar-11 18:28:52

@ elizadoestoomuch :- From what you say I think your son will inherit all of your exp's assets. However, as Resolution said, there is also the question of who the executors of his will are, assuming it can be found! Also where any insurance policies and bank accounts! are. And who is going to apply for probate. Perhaps a gently gently info gathering approach is in order!

Georgimama Sun 06-Mar-11 18:35:45

I would imagine (I may be wrong depending on the circs) that they are the executors of the estate and have also been appointed trustees of the trust resulting from your son inheriting from his father when under the age of 18.

If your ex had died when DS was over 18 he would have got the lot in his hand under the rules of intestacy, and probably everything under any will if left to him, but as (presumably) DS is under 18 he can't inherit absolutely - the money has to be kept for him until he reaches adulthood but in the meantime the trustees can pay out money to pay for maintenance, education etc. That sounds like what they are suggesting.

I think you need to get a copy of the will from them and go and see a probate lawyer to get everything explained to you.

elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 18:39:38

Thankyou Melvin.
Will try gently gently.
His family are in denial (understandably). We knew this day would come because of ExP MH problems plus lifestyle choices but his family chose to ignore. They are all now struggling that they didn't take things seriously and I really don't want to add to their distress. Hence my reluctance in calling them.
What would the situation be if he didn't leave a will? (he said he had a will but because of behaviour in the year before he died I don't know whether it is true or not).
God sorry if I sound so thoughtless about it all. It feels all so complicated.

Georgimama Sun 06-Mar-11 18:42:07

intestacy flow chart rules of intestacy

elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 18:43:58

Thankyou Georgimama.
DS is 11.
They definitely weren't suggesting paying maintenance from a trustee point of view - only a personal one.
This is going to sound so wrong and I don't even know how to word it correctly - it has crossed my mind that they think they can take on the maintenance themselves so that they don't have to go through the emotional upheaval of selling his flat. As far as i'm concerned anything can be discussed I'm just tired of being kept in the dark and being give no answers.
If the family won't give me a copy of the will then where do I get one from?

Earlybird Sun 06-Mar-11 18:48:11

Did your ex own the flat outright, or is/was there a mortgage?

Wondering if your ex's issues (mental and lifestyle) caused him to pull equity out of the flat to fund his lifestyle.

My point is - are you reasonably sure there were/are any assets to pass along?

But, I don't have any practical advice on how you find out about a will, and what was in it.

elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 18:57:03

Earlybird there was a mortgage on his flat. His parents gave him the deposit. ExP told me that if anything happened to him he had life insurance, the deposit would be paid back to his parents and the rest would come to DS.
He definitely didn't pull any equity to fund his lifestyle (as definitely as anyone can be) he was anal about money. Only used cash. Never spent what he didn't have in his wallet.
I just don't know how to broach the subject with his parents. It all sounds so money grabbing. But we are sudden;y £250 a month down. A huge anount. DS has a school holiday plus various other trips booked based on the maintenance. God I sound so harsh - I really don't mean it to come out like that. I just wante as much info as I can before I ring them. I'm dreading speaking to them.

melvinscomment Sun 06-Mar-11 19:04:02

@ elizadoestoomuch :- Bearing in mind what Georgimama has said, I think it may well be the case that your exp's will will contain words to the effect that one or more members of his family should hold his assets in trust for his son until he is 18 or such like. Maybe your exp's family have the will. If no will can be found presumably new trustees have to be appointed to hold the assets in trust for your son.

elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 19:18:10

melvin again at the risk of sounding cold hearted (which really I am not) does that mean that maintenance now ceases and DS gets it when he is 18 (or other age)?? Oh god I really will have to phone them - its going to be such a horrible phonecall tho.
If anyone can help me word it appropriately so that when I speak to them I am not being offensive I would be really greatful!

elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 19:21:24

Sorry reread what Goergimama said. So maintenance could be taken from the estate. God its horrible having to think about these things.
What about the death certificate? Do we have a right to see it? They are being vague about how he died,

Longtalljosie Sun 06-Mar-11 19:27:42

I think you need a solicitor. What you seem to be saying is you think there is a good chance you are about to be done over. You can say this to us - we don't know them! So a solicitor could be money well spent, although I have no idea whether you would be eligible for legal aid.

melvinscomment Sun 06-Mar-11 19:45:27

@ elizadoestoomuch :- I think it will be best for you to phone the family, not necessarily tonight, say your exp said he had a will, have they seen it. Is your son mentioned and if so who is his trustee. Will the trustee be able to continue paying your son's maintenance. Lets say there is a trustee. I think it will be up to the trustee to decide what to do with the flat until your son is eg 18. Could eg rent it out. Could sell it and put money in bank. All up to the trustee(s)! Definitely requires a gently gently approach!

TheProvincialLady Sun 06-Mar-11 19:51:31

Yes, see a solicitor ASAP. If there is a will then it is a public document and you will be able to see it in due course. If no will then you will need a solicitor's advice anyway.

Don't think of it in terms of yourself at all. Think of it as protecting your DS future...that is what it is.

Jellykat Sun 06-Mar-11 19:54:53

I agree with the above, i think advice from a solicitor would be wise.

Good luck-it certainly is a tricky situation.

silverboy Sun 06-Mar-11 20:05:47

sorry to jump in here but I think that Longtall' has got it right you need proper legal advice and I would suggest that you do so promptly before any unauthoried distributions are made. Did your exp have other children or relatives who were dependent on him eg the parents?

I do not understand, if there were assets why the Grandfather would offer to take on the responsibility of maintaing your ds. Surely they would have known that all assets would need to be administered for the wellbeing of the offspring.

But regardless you need to make it known that you are aware that there is a will.

melvinscomment Sun 06-Mar-11 20:18:47

@ silverboy and @ elizadoestoomuch :- It may well be that the Grandfather, or possibly someone the Grandfather knows, is named as the trustee of the child in the father's will. If there is no "contract" re what the child's maintenance should be, I think it will be up to the trustee to decide what to pay per month. And re all of the assets, including the flat, I think it will be up to the trustee to decide how they are managed until they need to be liquidated and or transferred to the child when the child is eg 18.

Earlybird Sun 06-Mar-11 20:19:35

First - I am NOT lawyer, or legally trained and this is only my opinion so bear that in mind as what is below might be complete rubbish!

Should you maybe arrange to meet with your ex's parents to find out what they propose?

Obviously, it is good that they realise you/your ds count on the money that was being paid every month by your ex, and it is good that they propose continuing to pay something (would it be the same amount?).

When you see them, say that it has all been such a shock and an emotional time and that you are sorry for their loss. Say that only now are you starting to think of the practical impact on your day to day lives.

Ask if there was a will and indicate that you had been told that one existed. If there is a will, ask how, or if, your ds was mentioned. If so, ask for a copy as the information contained will help you plan for your ds' future. Find out who the executor is, and whether or not there is a trustee.

But, don't give too much away. Mainly listen to what they have to say, and what they propose and don't agree to anything. At the end, you could simply say that there is alot to take in and alot to consider and you need to time to think about it all.

After that conversation, you will know more about whether or not a solicitor is necessary.

elizadoestoomuch Sun 06-Mar-11 20:42:52

Thankyou so much for all your advice. no I don't think they would "do DS over" as such. More that DS is an after thought? DS was never fully accepted into their family (I split with ExP when 3 pregnant due to his excessive cannabis use), ExP has been admitted into psychiatric care on 2 occasions (18months ago) but his family said that was because he was "bone idle & work shy". They never accepted the reality. In October 2010 I stopped DS seeing his dad because of his erratic behaviour and the effect it had on my DS. ExPs family hold this against me and tried to stop us from going to the funeral. For 8 years I have done everything I can to enable a relationship between DS and his dad but last Oct things came to a head and I said no more.
I contacted the Grandparents and begged them to stay in touch, they said they couldn't. I pleaded with the grandparents to take ExPs problems seriously but they wouldn't. Now they are blaming his death on me. They won't speak to me. It is all through ExP BIL.
All I wanted was for DS to have contact with his paternal family.

TheProvincialLady Sun 06-Mar-11 20:47:17

Wow, what a mess. Definitely see a solicitor this week and start the ball rolling. They can't think any worse of you than they do. You need to take control of the matter.

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